The If We Do Not Essay Example
The If We Do Not Essay Example

The If We Do Not Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (1092 words)
  • Published: December 30, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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Exploring the suppressed subconscious elements of the human identity, the 'dark side' can focus attention on the intuitive subconscious realms that may create both creative and destructive forces. In her 1862 poem 'Goblin Market', Christina Rossetti examines this duality through Lizzie and Laura, delving into politics surrounding their suppressed female desire and its commodification in the market place. Concurrently, Rossetti also examines how women in this setting are both objects and perpetually unfulfilled consumers.

The poem Goblin Market by Rossetti can be seen as a revolutionary and surreal expression of female desire and emancipation, which contrasts with the Victorian England's formal commodification of love. During the 19th century, Victorian society adhered to patriarchal conventions that were epitomized by the corset; this garment functioned both bodily and figuratively to regulate the female identity and sexuality. Rossetti's work highl


ights a dichotomy between the passive and socially-correct female persona in public life, and the subconsciously turbulent 'dark side' of the private self, which imbues the poem with its dreamlike qualities. In addition, Goblin Market can be contextualized in a Pre-Raphaelite framework that rejected classical humanism in favor of the thinking styles of medieval times, utilizing mythical archetypes.

Likewise, 'Goblin Market' employs the mythical context of Persephone to depict a journey into the depths of the subconscious. The motif of the pomegranate recurs throughout the poem, symbolizing Laura's seduction by the Goblins and their market. Rossetti's exploration of the "dark side" - the irrational, Dionysian forces of sexuality and pleasure - is also given a fairytale-like framework, enabling readers to navigate the divide between rationality and their primal, destabilizing desires. By showcasing Laura's descent into slavery to the Goblin's pleasures,

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Rossetti emphasizes how easily one can be consumed by their own darkness.

Laura becomes enchanted by the Goblins after partaking of their fruit, which fills her with a persistent longing for their indulgences: "I ate and ate my fill/yet my mouth waters still" (#165-166). The rhyming couplets merge to highlight Rossetti's thematic concerns and underscore the notion that one can never truly be satisfied by the "dark side." Lizzie cautions Laura about the potentially ruinous effects of the Goblins' sensuous fruit, offering up an anecdote about Jeanie, the only other female character in the tale, who withered away to death after snacking on their fruit. At the end of the poem, Laura becomes a storyteller, using her art to subvert Victorian society's patriarchal structures with a story of female solidarity. In this context, the Goblin men serve as archetypal representations of male sexual potency whose fruit and pleasure possess Laura's soul.

Moreover, the poem's unsettling feeling of being in a nightmare is reinforced by frequent changes between day and night. Rossetti uses exaggerated language and present participles like "Listening ever..." (#230) to show how Laura becomes obsessed with the idea of eating the goblin fruit again, causing her to lose her senses and become unable to hear the goblins calling out. In contrast, Lizzie can hear their cries, and when Laura realizes she is alone in not hearing them, she becomes terrified, as if trapped in a nightmarish world where her desire goes unfulfilled. The author's use of alliteration with the letter "s," onomatopoeic words, and a rhetorical question suggests the intense fixation Laura has on obtaining the fruit: "Must she then buy no more such succuous

pasture find/gone deaf and blind" (#158-159).

On the one hand, Rossetti suggests that encountering the 'dark side' can broaden an individual's horizons, as is demonstrated in Lizzie and Laura's transition from innocence to experience after their encounter with goblins. Through a contrast between the sardonic possession of the female body by the goblins and her individual willpower, Rossetti highlights that the power of the goblins is ultimately exhausted by Lizzie's resistance: "At last the evil people/ Worn out by her resistance/Flung back her penny" (#337-339). On the other hand, Rossetti implies that for Lizzie to rescue Laura and achieve wholeness, she must confront and acknowledge this 'dark side', which represents a more Dionysian aspect of herself. The feminist resonance of Lizzie's triumph over desire is also emphasized: "One may lead a horse to water, twenty cannot make him drink" (#422-23).

The similes that follow Laura's attack by the goblins illustrate her increased strength and demonstrate her innate inner fortitude. The initial similes and epithets in the poem, as Laura is seduced by the goblins, signify her awakening consciousness: "Like a vessel at the launch" (#85). This implies a progression from innocence to experience and a deviation from Victorian society's accepted norms into the 'dark side'. Despite Laura's descent into the desire for the fruit and the 'dark side', she ultimately transcends the patriarchal constraints of both the goblin and Victorian society. Rossetti also argues that only by harmonizing with both rational and irrational forces depicted in the text can individuals function effectively in society. The poem portrays this duality through Lizzie and Laura, who represent opposing forces or a divided self. Laura's movement from innocence to experience

represents our sensual sentient being with all its creative potential, which must ultimately be reunited with Lizzie's more rational and grounded persona to truly thrive in this world.

The contrast between Lizzie and Laura's mental state is evident in the line "One content, one sick in part" (#212), while the difference in their demeanors after Laura's possession is highlighted through a vivid simile where Lizzie appears calm, but Laura is like a flame (#217-18). The poetic work culminates with a dynamic portrayal of Lizzie and Laura's union, presented through Rossetti's onomatopoeic language and active verbs, conveying a sensual, violent meeting between irrational and rational forces of the mind and body. "Her lips began to scorch" signifies the passion of the moment (#xxx).

In lines 493-500, it is described how Laura's hair flowed like a flaming torch. The union of the sisters is portrayed as having a profound religious significance because they embody the archetypal shadow sides of the human psyche. This integration is crucial for Laura to overcome the patriarchal controls of the goblins and for her to unleash her creative individuality. To sum up, my examination of Christina Rossetti's 'Goblin Market' has taught me that the 'dark side' can possess both destructive and imaginative powers.

According to the text, to function in society, we need a combination of rational and irrational forces. The "dark side" can broaden our humanity, but also represents less virtuous aspects of our identity.

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